"EVERYONE DESERVES ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, regardless of the their station in life...PERIOD"
Thank you for stating the underlying moral premise to this whole discussion. I presume that by "access", you mean "a right to", and not merely "a chance to get", health care.
Your statement above is a moral premise, not a fact, and as such you are entitled to it. My friends, family and I do not share identical moral opinions, and we still love and care about each other. Now, on to some facts.
Alll the countries you mentioned are harder hit by the Global Recession than the USA. The GDP of the USA dwarfs each of those countries individually. As a matter of fact, it takes the whole European Union (EU) to nose out just the USA alone, according to the International Monetary Fund. That those countries spend so much on the relatively inefficient delivery of health care to their inhabitants is a big drag on their economies.
In other words, they wouldn't be so far behind us if they didn't waste so much of their GDP on the well-publicized graft, over-regulation and delays that are a routine part of health care in those countries.
I'll stick with the USA, thank you. At least those things are the exception, not the rule, over here.
Our status quo was sustainable. This is proved by the fact that it was not collapsing. Yes, some rates for some classes of insured persons were rising, commensurate with the statistical risk those persons posed to the rest of the pool, but that is how insurance has worked since it was invented.
The "31 million uninsured" included many young people who deliberately rejected insurance because other things were more important to them than the relatively slim chance they had of getting sick. It's a chance they were willing to take.
As for the prtion of the 31 million who lost insurance when they lost their jobs, there is always COBRA. This is admittedly a very pricey choice, and one that I had to save up for back when I had employer-provided insurance. The one time I needed COBRA, I had the savings to pay for it. I encourage others to do the same. I also have no problem with filling in the gap for those who lose coverage before they have had time to save a COBRA backup fund. But if you've been working for, say, five years, you have no excuse for not saving some money.
In fact, if any person signs up for insurance, gets sick and then loses that insurance through no fault of his/her own, it is in my moral and economic interest to help him/her survive. Otherwise, I do not see the moral imperative for protecting people from their foolish decision to go without insurance, whether employer-provided or individually-purchased.
I also believe that those who get sick before legal adulthood should be allowed to purchase insurance, at a means-tested premium rate, in an "assigned risk" pool similar to the way the auto insurance industry does it.
I believe it is immoral to demand that others set your arm when you deliberately broke it. This is the same principle that underlies the widely-used exception that auto insurance companies apply to DUI cases.
That brings us to the most vexing case: those who don't make enough money to buy their own insurance and work for companies that don't provide it.
Mr. T, the US celebrity best known for his role on TV's The A Team and the Rocky movies, used to say "Don't do drugs, stay in school". He's on to something. If you hang out less and study more, you have more choices in life...like not working for crummy employers.
If you lack the mental or physical ability to have the luxury of that choice, I have no problem helping you out.
Here's an interesting question: if, as you say, "EVERYONE DESERVES ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, regardless of the their station in life...PERIOD", does that mean you believe the USA has a moral duty to allow anyone on the planet to get care here?
Whether it's a "matter of pragmatism" or "just a moral position", I think the least we can do is agree that the philosophical basis for universal health care should depend on typical cases, not exotic exceptions.
There are "...rich who have done nothing other than breathe to inherit their wealth...", but there are damned few of them. According to a Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland study, just 1.6% or Americans get an inheritance of more than $100,000. That includes people who inherit houses from their parents! Houses, dude!
By the way, if you want to leave a nice inheritance to your kids, 2010 is your year to die! For 2010, there is no limit to the amount of money you can leave tax-free to your heirs.
In 2011, the estate tax will go back to pre-Bush levels ... about 37%-55% of the estate's value, with a 100% exemption on the first $1 Million. ♪ Turn out the lights, the party's over! ♫
"...Our current system is not a free market based system so in essence we have the worst of both worlds..."
This is an extraordinary claim! What kind of system is it, if not a free-market one? I thought that was your beef with it. I'm confused. What is the other world you refer to in your "worst of both worlds" phrase?
It's true that France has has universal health care for 40 years.
This is also true about France....The overall rate of social security and tax on the average wage in 2005 was 71.3% of gross salary. Do we really want to become like France? That's certainly the direction that we are headed.
Obama’s boss had him pass healthcare.
Then we will be hearing SS is going broke.
Then we will hear that healthcare funding is going broke.
Give the whole project to the Nuns and let them run it. I think they can save and manage money.
No wonder the republicans wanted no part of it.
If you want good healthcare, save your money and hope you can find a doctor that will keep you alive.
Dallas, as you must know by now, I totally disagree with you on this subject. If I want a car that will transport me to my job or to visit my sick mother, I better work hard and save my money or have a good credit rating so that I can buy the needed car. If I want to live in a nice house or even a tiny apartment the same conditions apply. But, if I suffer from epileptic seizures and need medication to control it, I do not see why I have to have enough money to pay the medical bills that enable me to work. Especially if I am just joining the work force. I know that you don't believe that a country can provide medical care to its population without going broke, but everything I read convinces me that it works for the rest of the industrialized world, so I fail to understand why it wouldn't be possible here. Ever since the 1960's I have heard people say that the scandinavian Countries were going broke because of their providing so many services to their citizens. Now I see that they are at the top of the economic ladder and seem to be getting better. Surveys show that the people living there are some of the most satisfied of any area of the world.
BTW I am interested in the information that you found about wealth distribution in the US. Did it give the figures for 1910? Could you tell me where to find that information?
I respect your opinions, and we are not that far apart on many important points. My previous posts here cover the cases where I don't mind reform at all. A person just joining the work force was one of those cases.
I didn't see any 1910 distribution figures, but I have to admit their absence from my source makes me wonder, now that you bring it up.
That would have been before a US Income Tax, and I presume that is what you are probably curious about. I am too. Meanwhile here's a link for the distribution info I posted.
You can also dive into the US Census Bureau data by clicking here . I've used it for most of my working life. Be careful: it's easy to become a Census Data Geek ☺
I'm off to find some earlier figures if I can...I'll keep you posted...let me know if you find any sources, OK? Hell, who knows? I might learn something.
Dallas, I always have respect for your opinions because you always have a source of information to back you up. I do not think your conclusions are based on sound bites thrown out by sombody saying what you want to hear. However the two of us often draw different conclusions from much of that information. For example; Income distribution. The fact that income distribution in the US has changed only a few percentage points over the last 80 years indicates to me that for the majority of the population, the idea that hard work and frugality will lead to riches is about the same as a belief that if I keep buying lottery tickets, someday I will win. What I do see as I travel around the country is that the upper middle class is growing larger and wealth distibution shows that the upper 20% of the population better off than it was 50 years ago. But relatively, the bottom 20 % is worse off. I support Capitalism. but, as a regulated economic system, not as an across the board way of running a country. I think that some things and services that every country needs such as Health education and care, public transportation, infrastructure(ie. roads, electricity, water,sewer), interstate commerce, should be either controlled or at least regulated by government. I think some things should be totally free such as the press, which includes TV, although that doesn't seem to be working to well. Free speech is an absolute necessity. I could go on and on but I will try not too. As I have said many times, of all the forms of government and economic systems with which I am familiar, none will work for an extended period in it's pure form.